The Gospel according to Mark

Arend Remmers

16 chapters

1. Author and Time of Writing

Only one man in the New Testament bears the name of Mark. Since the 2nd century the Gospel according to Mark has been attributed to him. This Mark who was properly called John (and 'surnamed' Mark) was the son of a certain Mary who owned a house in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). This is the house where Peter went to when he was freed from prison. John Mark was also a nephew (or cousin) of Barnabas, who at times was a companion of the Apostle Paul (Col. 4:10). Paul and Barnabas took John Mark with them as a servant during their first mission journey (Acts 12:25; 13:5). But Mark, probably still a young man, departed from them in Perga and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). When Barnabas wanted to take his relative with him for the second journey, Paul did not want to take him. This caused a separation (Acts 15:37-39). Only about 12 years later Mark's name reappears in the letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (Col. 4:10; Philemon 24). We find him now in Rome - with the arrested Paul. In the Second Epistle to Timothy, shortly before his death, Paul asks Timothy to bring Mark with him who now was a useful servant (2 Tim. 4:11). Mark is also mentioned in 1 Peter 5:13. Here Peter calls him his son. This is probably to indicate the close spiritual relationship with Mark.

It was not only Paul who was very close to Mark but also Peter. According to very old traditions Mark is supposed to have written his gospel based on sermons and communications which Peter gave in Rome for the believers there. Up to the very day this thesis is partially based on the usage of divers Latin words, the habit to explain Jewish terms, the rare references to Old Testament passages and the poignant and lively style. To rightly divide this gospel, however, it is not necessary to know these traditions. Instead, the profound occupation with the contents and structure of this Bible book - inspired by the Holy Spirit - is essential.

It is not possible to determine precisely the time of writing of this gospel. The scientists' views vary between 55 and 70 AC.

Subject and Purpose of Writing

The Gospel according to Mark is the shortest gospel and in presentation the most dense one. Mark does not so much describe the teachings but more the actions of the Lord Jesus. Very often Mark uses the present time in his accounts instead of the past time. The word